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Better staple food access and decline in malnutrition rates

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Burkina Faso
  • November 2013
Better staple food access and decline in malnutrition rates

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Food stocks from on-farm production are currently the main source of food, allowing households to meet their daily food needs fairly easily. With the combined effects of increased supply and ongoing assistance programs driving down the crop prices, households in all parts of the country should experience Minimal acute food insecurity (Phase 1, IPC 2.0) between now and March of next year.

    • Markets are well-stocked and cereal prices have started to decrease in line with normal seasonal trends. Nationwide prices for white maize are down by more than 15 percent from last year and six percent below the five-year average, while reported prices for millet and white sorghum across the country are up by three percent.

    • According to the preliminary findings by the SMART nutritional survey conducted in August/September of this year, global acute malnutrition rates around the country are under 10 percent following the good growing seasons in all parts of the country and the assistance programs mounted by the government and its partners.

    Current Situation
    • Harvests of major crops (sorghum, millet, and maize) are nearly finished and are providing households in all livelihood zones with typical food stocks. Preliminary figures for the 2013/2014 growing season released by the Food Security Forecasting Committee in October estimate cereal production at 5.12 million metric tons, up 4.64 percent from last year and 21.40 percent above the five-year average. Market inventories (of maize, sorghum, millet, yams, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, and fonio) from these harvests are improving food availability and the household food security situation, which is typically the case at harvest time. This is reducing the market dependence of very poor and poor households in all livelihood zones.
    • The stability in cereal prices around the country since July has given way to a downward trend in the price of white maize, putting it more than 15 percent below figures for last year and six percent below the five-year average. Markets are also seeing a three percent rise in the price of millet and white sorghum compared to the five-year average. Prices for locally grown millet crops are more than 20 percent lower than last month, facilitating staple cereal access for all households in livelihood zones 7 and 8, both areas of concern, and allowing them to ensure their daily meals, in line with the norm for this time of year. Social assistance programs operated by the government (subsidized sales programs and charter shops charging prices 40 percent under market prices) in certain areas are also helping to bolster food security conditions. There is a normal flow of domestic trade from productive areas to the usual deficit areas. Foreign trade flows consist of trade in maize with Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Niger and trade in millet with Mali and Niger.
    • The good physical condition of animals in predominantly livestock-raising areas with the good supply of pasture and watering holes and the absence of major pathologies is keeping livestock prices well above-average. Supplies on livestock markets are low compared with demand after the celebration of Tabaski and with pastoralists prevented from feeling any need to sell more animals as long as terms of trade for livestock/cereals continue to be in their favor.
    • The escalation in cotton production in major cotton-growing areas in the western part of the country (an increase of 17.44 percent compared with last year, putting it 33.83 percent above the five-year average) is serving as a source of income for very poor and poor households currently in high demand to work the harvest. The reopening of traditional gold panning sites provides working household members migrating to these areas and remaining there until the beginning of the next rainy season with a moderately good source of income.
    • According to the preliminary findings by the SMART nutritional survey conducted in August/September of this year and released in October, acute malnutrition rates, chronic malnutrition rates, and low weight-for-age rates are down from last year. In fact, the nationwide severe acute malnutrition rate for children under five years of age is 1.7 percent (95% CI 1.4-2.0) and the country-wide global acute malnutrition rate has fallen from 10.9 percent last year to 8.2 percent (95% CI 7.6-8.9) this year, with rates in all parts of the country at under 10 percent. Available supplies of cereals and other crops and animal products, as well as assistance programs operated by the government with assistance from its partners are all contributing factors in stabilizing or bringing down these malnutrition rates between now and next March.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not fundamentally affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely food security scenario for the period from October 2013 through March 2014. It is consistent with the analysis and main assumptions underlying the most likely scenario described in the Food Security Outlook for October 2013 through March 2014. It should be noted however, that based on the analysis by the Food and Nutritional Security Forecasting Committee, approximately 600,000 people at risk for food insecurity in six provinces will be assisted by the government as of the first quarter of next year.

    Projected Outlook Through March 2014

    With the recent completion of harvests of all rainy season crops in November, in general, very poor and poor households should have fairly easy access to food needs. Given this fact, the government’s social assistance programs, and the projected near-average to below-average food prices, households should currently be experiencing Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). Moreover, with the levels of farm income (from sales of crops), pastoral income (from sales of livestock and dairy products) and non-farm income (proceeds from gold panning activities, sales of off-season crops, etc.) in the country’s different livelihood zones and the lower rates of malnutrition across the country, households in all livelihood zones are not expected to experience acute food insecurity (Phase 1) between now and next March, if not longer.


    Figure 1


    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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